Benedict's resignation in 2013 was a shocking and historically rare event. In modern times, popes have uniformly served until their death. Benedict was the first pope to resign the papacy since Gregory XII in 1415. Speculation abounded about the reason for Benedict's resignation, but both Benedict and the church have staunchly insisted that his resignation was solely due to the advances of age, and Benedict's struggles to physically fulfill his duties.
Both before and during his papacy he was known as a prolific writer and theologian, penning numerous books and articles on Catholic theology.
Since his resignation, Benedict has almost entirely disappeared from public life and has rarely been seen outside the Vatican.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced by the Vatican; however, Benedict's body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican for the faithful to pay their respects, according to the Vatican's statement.